Are you thinking about moving to Arizona? Let me share with you what I love and what I hate about living in the Grand Canyon State!
If this is your first time here, welcome! If you’ve been here before, thank you so much for spending your time with me. My name is Lindsay and I‘m a proud Anthem resident and your local REALTOR® with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. On our blog and our YouTube channel we have a lot of fun talking about all things Anthem and real estate every single Thursday, and we absolutely love having you along for the ride.
Moving to Arizona: My Journey
Before we jump in, here’s a little background on me. I moved to Arizona full time in February of 2017. Prior to that I had visited Arizona quite a bit. Growing up, my grandparents were snowbirds and had a place in Mesa. I remember flying out to visit them over spring break when I was little. Eventually my parents bought a place in Anthem, Arizona, where my Dad retired (and by retired, I mean started full time golfing).
Eventually, I also made the decision to move the United States, and decided that I would move to Anthem, to be close to my parents.
Since then, I have fallen completely in love with Anthem and all of Arizona for that matter. So, I am very excited to share the things I love most and the things, well, I don’t really love.
Moving to Arizona: 5 Things I LOVE
Normally I’d ask if you want the good news or the bad news first but I’m making the executive decision that we’re starting with the things I love. One, because the things I love far outweigh the things I don’t, and two, because it’s way more fun to talk about the things I love.
The weather has to be number one. Honestly, I was a little bit worried when I first moved to Arizona that it was going to be too hot in the summer. While there are a couple of months where it’s really hot, they are completely made up for the rest of the year when it’s gorgeous. We can get outside all year in Arizona. Personally, I would take a couple of months of extreme heat over freezing temperatures any day.
The other thing I love is that when it’s too hot to sit outside in Phoenix, in say August, we can either hang out in the pool or we can head to Flagstaff for the weekend for a break. Arizona is so diverse that with a couple of hours drive you can be in the mountains. In the winter you can head up there to see snow or go skiing, and in the summer it is the perfect break from the heat.
I did a whole video on the weather in Anthem, Arizona and how it compares to Phoenix, so if you’d like to check that out I will link to it here.
While we all joke that it’s a dry heat, I do really think the lack of humidity makes a difference. Anyways, I absolutely love the weather here and the fact that we seem to have an unlimited supply of sunshine.
#2: Plants & Landscape
Before I moved to Arizona I thought of it as a dry, lack-luster desert. I literally pictured tumbleweeds and mirages, like in the movies. Since moving here, I have fallen completely in love with the diversity in the desert. I’m not saying you won’t ever see a tumbleweed. I mean, that stereotype might have a little truth to it, but that doesn’t do justice to how beautiful the desert really is.
Where I live, in Anthem, we are tucked into the base of Daisy Mountain in the Sonoran Desert and it’s so beautiful. Honestly, watching the sunset with the mountains in the distance is second to none. You’ll find mountains throughout the valley and throughout the state. What’s even better is that they all have their own unique charm and character.
In addition to really incredible landscapes, the vegetation is also really cool. Before moving here, I had no idea that the desert blooms. Cactus blooms are so beautiful, I still feel like a tourist popping out my camera to take photos when I pass one by. Even when the desert isn’t in bloom, it’s gorgeous. I love seeing the diversity of plants that thrive here despite the dry conditions. My favorites are the saguaros, the palo verde trees, and prickly pears. Although I have to say, despite everyone’s best efforts, I’m not a fan of the prickly pear fruit.
Anyways, I would say, if you’re like I was, thinking the desert is a little bland, I encourage you to look closer. Like anywhere else our plants change with the seasons and it’s a beautiful phenomenon to watch.
Because Arizona is so diverse, you can do pretty much any activity year round. My husband and I are hikers, and Arizona has no shortage of hikes. We could hike for the rest of our lives and we probably still wouldn’t get to try all of the trails. But there’s so much more than good hiking in Arizona.
Honestly, unless your favorite pass time is ice-fishing, we probably have it here in Arizona. Arizona is great for cyclists, mountain bikers, painters, foodies, tennis players, pickleball players, golfers (hello, how did I not say golfers first?), shoppers, boaters, water-skiers, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
This one is probably a little cheesy, but honestly, I couldn’t go through the things I love about Arizona without talking about how awesome the people here are. Now, remember, I live in Anthem which is more like a suburb or small town outside of Phoenix. It’s actually a Master-Planned Community, but anyways, I have no doubt that it has a different feel than living in downtown Phoenix, or Yuma, or Tucson, or Prescott. Honestly, we’ve made so many really good friends here in a relatively short period of time. We know our neighbors, and when we’re out for a walk people say hi to each other.
Maybe it’s all the sunshine and warm weather that makes people so friendly, Whatever it is, I like it.
#5: All the Things I Don’t Need
What? Yup, that’s right! One of the things I love most about Arizona is all the things I don’t need. I don’t need a shovel, I don’t need a snow brush, I don’t need winter tires, and I couldn’t have been happier to say goodbye to my heavy winter jacket.
All of those items have been replaced with bottles of sunscreen, sunshades for the car, pool floats, and a well-insulated water bottle.
I do still have a remote starter for my car but that’s so I can get the air-conditioner going before I get in, rather than the heater.
Moving to Arizona: 5 Things I HATE (…errr don’t like so much)
Alright, so now that I’ve touched on some of the things I love most, let’s talk about the things I don’t love as much. I‘m hesitant to say hate, because that’s really strong, and it seems a little over the top when we live in such an incredible place. Also, I had to get Carolynn’s help a little bit on this one because I was struggling to come up with five things.
#1: The Heat
I know, I know, what a hypocrite! Weather was on the list of things I love most and now here it is as a downside of living in Arizona. For the most part the weather is awesome but every year I get to a point, usually in August or September where it just feels like it has been a little too hot for a little too long. In fact, I did a video where I poke fun at just how hot it gets in Arizona, so I will link to that here if you want to check it out. This phase doesn’t last long, but man when I hit that wall, I’m ready for a day in the pool or a weekend in Flagstaff for sure.
Additionally, in the hotter summer months you need to plan if you want to do any outdoor activities. If you’re going to be hiking, walking your dog, or, you know, even walking to get the mail, I recommend that you do it early in the morning and that you take water. It can be really dangerous to be out in the heat of the day without proper planning and protection.
A couple of other lessons the heat has taught me is that you are not going out to the pool without flip flops if you want to maintain feeling in your feet, your phone can’t withstand the heat the same way you do, and if you try to use the Chapstick you left in your car in the middle of the summer, it will literally feel like you’re smearing molten lava across your face.
Anyways, like I said before I would take the heat over snow any day, but if you’re like me, it can feel a little overbearing for a couple of weeks in the summer.
When I was little and we would visit my grandparents in Arizona, I remember asking my dad how far away something was, like the water park or a some other activity we were going to do, and I felt like he always said far. Now, as an adult, I still feel like that’s still kind of true. We’re really lucky because have everything we need on a day to day basis in Anthem, but there is no denying that the Phoenix Metro area is HUGE. Whether you’re catching some Spring Training in Mesa, walking around Old Town Scottsdale, or hanging out at Tempe Town Lake, you can expect to cover some serious ground to get there. Thankfully, the road systems are really good here, so you can usually make pretty good time, but you’re definitely going to put some miles on your car getting around.
A Vehicle is a MUST
In that same vein, you really do need to have a car if you are going to be travelling these long distances because the public transportation system is not set up to accommodate those kinds of trips.
I know, I had this one on my list of things I love too, but bear with me because there are just a couple of really specific things I don’t like about some of the plants here. Firstly, I don’t love that most things are either prickly or poisonous. This can become even more of an issue if you have kids or pets. For the most part you need to enjoy the vegetation from a distance here. That being said, I feel you’re not truly an Arizonan until you’ve been prickled by a cactus. I’m probably just saying that to make myself feel better about my run-in with a barrel cactus last year. Anyways, just keep your distance and if you’re hiking trying to keep your legs covered.
The other bone I have to pick with the plants here is specifically to do with the century plant, which is a type of agave. These century plants are so beautiful and then they get even more beautiful by sending up this bloom in the middle. Well guess what, spoiler alert, when they shoot up that stalk in the middle it means there are going to die. But don’t worry, if it’s called a century plant, that means it’s only going to bloom in 100 years, right? ERRR, wrong! It’s actually only lives between 10-30 years. Which, by the way, is NOT even close to 100 years. Anyways, the point of the bloom is so that it can shoot out more plants but every time I see an agave with the bloom coming out of it, it makes me a little sad.
Wait, did I just say I hate snowbirds?! No way, it’s actually the exact opposite. I love the snowbirds that come and spend the winters in Arizona, the part I hate is actually when they leave. We have family members that are snowbirds and even close family friends that are snowbirds and it’s always sad when they head home for the summer. I always find that things are little bit quieter after they head home, and of course, we just miss our friends. Anyways, we’re always excited when one of our snowbird friends or clients says they’re making the switch to staying in Anthem year round.
I’m starting to think that I might have some abandonment issues when it comes to my life in Arizona. Between the agave plants dying and the snowbirds leaving, it’s a roller coaster.
#5: Rush Hour Traffic
Last but not least, I am NOT a fan of rush hour traffic in Phoenix. Now, before I blame Phoenix, I don’t actually think that it’s worse than any other major metro area in the US. In fact, I think it might be better than some other major cities. I read that the average commute time across the US is 26.4 minutes each direction, while the average commute time in Phoenix is 25.4 minutes. This means that the average one way commute is actually shorter in Phoenix than the national average.
It might be because I work and live in Anthem, but when I find myself stuck in rush hour traffic in Phoenix it’s never fun and I will do pretty much anything to avoid it. So, if you’re moving to the Phoenix area, be warned we have normal ‘big city’ traffic.
So, there you have it! Truth be told, the things I love far outweigh the things I don’t. Arizona is so diverse it really has something for everyone. If you’re considering a move to Arizona, you may want to download our free guide: ‘Moving to Arizona?: 10 Reasons to Consider Anthem’. I would love to hear what’s drawing you personally to Arizona and even what areas you’re considering moving to in the comments.
Lastly, if you’d like to learn a little bit more about the area I live in, Anthem, then click to watch this video where I break down the highs and lows of our annual weather, or this video, where I break down all of the different areas within Anthem you can call home.
Enjoy those and I’ll see YOU next Thursday!